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Exclusive | HS2 civils design deadline pushed back eight months

high speed rail

High Speed 2 (HS2) civils contractors have been given an extra eight months to adapt their designs to meet target costs, New Civil Engineer can reveal.

New Civil Engineer understands that HS2 bosses have pushed back the notice to proceed (NTP) deadline from November until June 2019.

The additional time has been given to allow the contractors to cut costs on the project, which New Civil Engineer reported last week were currently coming in around £1bn above the target cost.

The main civils works contracts are divided into two stages, with HS2 giving the NTP at the end of stage one which focusses on concept/ scheme design.

The NTP would then allow contractors to start detailed design and construction, which is scheduled to begin “in early 2019”.

Stage one has been divided into six “checkpoints”. At the end of the sixth checkpoint, which was originally scheduled for the end of November, contractors must produce a design to a “defendable target price”. 

The initial over budget costs are believed to have been submitted as part of the third checkpoint, which was scheduled for the end of April.

This expected contractors to produce “scheme design maturity for whole life cost model”, 50% to 60% of the high risk design and 100% of the elements design. 

Following the initial costings, New Civil Engineer understands that HS2 bosses had originally postponed the NTP until February 2019. However contractors were contacted last week about the increased deadline.

It is understood that the initial cost estimates for all four of the joint ventures working on the seven packages have come in over budget. 

While one source said that the collective price was coming in at “around £1.2bn” over budget, another said that some bids were “as much as 30% to 40% higher” than their individual target price.

A spokesperson for HS2 maintained that the project “remains on track, and within [the] original cost package”.

Contractors were appointed in July last year to come up with a cost to build phase one of the line which runs from Euston Station in London to Birmingham Curzon Street.

It is not known if the later date for the notice to proceed will impact on the opening date of the line.

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